Paul George & Kawhi Leonard Were All Set To Join Forces With Raptors in 2019

For the first time in five years, Paul George has spoken about just what went down when he and Kawhi Leonard were deciding where they were going to play, back in the summer of 2019, with Kawhi fresh off a championship with the Toronto Raptors.

And according to PG, "we were going to go to Toronto." But it turns out that the Oklahoma City Thunder (George's team at the time) liked the Clippers trade offer better.

"Me and (Kawhi) was just working on 'how can we make this happen?' And I was close to going to Toronto," George now says. But he was with the Thunder at that time. 

“I was close to going to Toronto, like we were deciding to go to Toronto or the Clippers,” George said. “Ultimately, the Clippers put... a better trade package together, that sent me to LA. But I was close. He was going to re-sign in Toronto, and we were going to go to Toronto.”

That blockbuster trade package from the Clippers wound up being headed up by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and control of seven first-round picks (along with Danilo Gallinari). Obviously, the Raptors couldn't match that offer, and the Clippers got their duo to come to L.A (and the Thunder got their superstar).

But if the Clips hadn't included the young SGA in that deal, the entire destiny of the league would have been altered, as George would have gone to the Raptors to join a re-signed Kawhi, along with Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam, and they would have been the overwhelming favorites to defend their 2019 title. 

Photo: © Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports